FFATA: CAREER: Versatile Integrated Platforms for Broadband Microwave Dielectric Spectroscopy
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The objective of this research is to address the need for versatile broadband microwave dielectric spectroscopy systems based on fully-integrated silicon platforms. The approach is based on (1) developing a sensor array consisting of true-time-delay sensing units with phase/amplitude read-out circuits; (2) designing a wideband microwave frequency sweep generator to excite the sensor array; and (3) combining the sensor array, and read-out electronics with a fluidic module and an external processing unit as a hybrid lab-on-chip platform. Intellectual Merit: The proposed spectroscopy scheme enables complex permittivity measurements over a broad microwave frequency range to realize a self-sustained lab-on-chip platform through the paradigm shift of employing integrated true-time-delay passive sensors. High sensitivity material characterization is based on detecting phase/amplitude change of a signal caused by localized electromagnetic interaction between sensor and sample. An array of sensors is excited with a wideband sweep generator and the phase/amplitude of each sensor is detected using a time-multiplexed control loop to enhance detection resolution and bandwidth. Broader Impacts: Low-cost and small-size microwave spectroscopy systems could significantly enhance the capabilities for point-of-care medical diagnosis, bio-threat detection, agriculture and food/drug safety. The project promotes education and outreach activities through research projects for students. Educational opportunities for under-represented groups will be explored by collaborating with Enrichment Experience Engineering program at Texas A&M University to provide workshops for minority high school teachers in engineering. Attending annual ECE?Unplugged and Society of Women Engineers summer camps will help to inspire high school and women students to join the engineering program.